Current Reviews


Daredevil #42

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The book opens with the blind woman that Daredevil rescued in the previous issue discussing the idea that she's fallen in love with him, and we see her friend suggests that she pay a visit to the offices of Matt Murdock to see if the rumors are true. We then look in on Daredevil, who manages to interrupt a drug deal, and after chasing off the customers, we see him put the screws to the dealer to learn where the Owl has set up shop. We then look in on the Owl who is being prepped for his impending meeting with Daredevil by his lawyer, so when Daredevil does arrive the lawyer manages to chase the hero away with threats of legal action, as smashing one's way into a building and threatening an innocent man is completely illegal. However, before he leaves we see Daredevil manages to destroy the video tape & DAT recordings that were being made of his visit with the Owl. We then look in on Mr. Rosenthal, the owner of the Daily Globe, as we see the man is starting to reconsider taking his case against Matt Murdock to the wall, as the idea that he doesn't have a winnable case is starting to sink in. However, the issue ends with a shocking turn of events that is sure to generate a huge media firestorm, with Daredevil at its center.

I was already enjoying this book enough that it had earned itself a recommendation, but the last sequence of this issue delivers such a shocking twist to Matt's bid to protect his secret identity that this book earns itself my highest praise. I mean I'll admit I had already telegraphed this story well in advance, as I saw the impassioned speeches that Matt would deliver in the courtroom, and given the large number of people who know Matt's secret I imagined there would be a surprise betrayal. I had even gone as far to believe that Wilson Fisk would make his return to the story, and he would offer Matt the easy solution to his problem, but this solution would come with a price. Now most times I'm quite content in letting a writer take the story where they want it to go, but when an idea sticks around in a title for an extended period of time, I can't stop myself from playing the incredible future seeing comic reader. Yes it's this same ability that has me convinced the Hobgoblin was Flash Thompson driven mad by his experience in Vietnam, or that Rogue would be the X-Traitor after her absorbing power made her crazy (hey I never said I was any good at these predictions). In any event, this Brian Michael Bendis' little surprise threw all my predictions out the window.

One of the best things Brian Michael Bendis has managed to do during his run on this title is that he's delivered a sense of importance to the idea that Matt's secret identity has been publicly ousted. I mean with the recent string of masks coming off in the Marvel Universe (e.g. Iron Man, Captain America), this book not only did its unmasking first, but it's also the only one that's taken the time to really examine what this newfound knowledge would do to the character's world. From the new method that the Owl deals with Daredevil, to a simple romance that would seem to be kicking into gear thanks in large part to the public knowing his secret, Brian Michael Bendis has managed to create a series of engaging ideas that all spin out of that singular event. I also have to say that Brian Michael Bendis also manages to deliver one of the funniest exchanges of dialogue I've seen from him yet, as the Owl's lawyer tries to convince his client that biting Daredevil's face off is not the best way to handle the situation. There's also the big event, as we see Matt's case against the Daily Globe takes an entirely unexpected turn, and next issue can't arrive fast enough, as the fallout from this event should be enormous.

First off I have to say that I love the almost photo-realistic appearance of the cityscape on this month's cover, and the muted coloring of Daredevil is also quite impressive in it's ability to convey a low-key mood. As for the interior art, the art does some lovely work on the opening sequence as we see the two women discussing Daredevil, as the scene has a nice early morning look to it that nicely compliments the somewhat lighthearted subject. Now the next scene did leave me wondering how Daredevil was able to tip over a limousine, as I don't believe enhanced strength has never been among Daredevil's abilities. However, this scene does convey the idea that Daredevil is a rather imposing figure when he wants to be. I also enjoyed the way that the art managed to show us how poorly suited the Owl is when it comes to his new role as a Kingpin like figure, as we can see he's barely able to contain the murderous rampages that don't suit the new image he's trying to project. The art also does a nice job conveying the unspoken attraction that would seem to exist between Matt & the blind woman who sought him out. However, the highlight of this issue would have to be the last page, where the art pulls back to reveal its big shocking moment.

Final Word:
First off the final sequence of this issue offers up such a major surprise that I have to give Brian Michael Bendis full marks for catching me, and I suspect most readers completely flatfooted with this new development. The follow-up to this final scene should easily move the case involving Matt's secret identity right into the spotlight, but what's more the case has suddenly become far more than just more than just whether Matt will be able to protect his secret identity. This issue also has itself a rather sweet little romance on the back-burner, and in a rather clever move we see the woman's blindness allows her to confirm the very secret that Matt is fighting tooth and nail to protect. I also have to say that I found the scene between the Owl & his lawyer one of the funniest sequences I've seen all year, and I also got a pretty decent lawyer joke out of it too. I also enjoy the little continuity touches that Brian Michael Bendis has establishing between this title & Alias.

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